Star Wars Rebels:

An RPG in Animated Form?

So due to Current Events I have video on in the background while working much of the time. I re-watched most of the Clone Wars series, then gave the ‘successor’ a try: Star Wars: Rebels. I had skipped it as it looked to skew a little young for my tastes: I wish I hadn’t, as now it feels like an amazing Star Wars RPG animated.

The characters fit into the old West End Games version of the Star Wars RPG surprisingly well. (Note that if I make any specific rules-references in this mini-series, they’ll refer to the WEG 2nd edition rulebook most often… Although I may mention d20 mechanics due to that being a gamer common tongue!)

These rules used ‘templates’ for character creation. You picked an iconic role in the setting, then got to adjust it a bit. If you took ‘Wookie First Mate’ for example your character was close to Chewbacca… but you might spend your customization efforts to develop skills like droid programming, trading, or medical care instead of the focus on starships our hairy protagonist took. Here’s the main Rebels crew and some suggested archetypes, at least as of the pilot movie:

  • Ezra is, of course, the Kid. Took the option to be Force sensitive. The art in the book I’m looking at even has a slingshot (although the character doesn’t, technically).
  • Kanan is a pretty good match for the Failed Jedi: A bitter, drunken Jedi who sees an opportunity to train someone as his salvation. The Rebels character is a bit more optimistic, but it’s important to keep in mind that the WEG RPG was released before the Prequel Trilogy, so no one knew why the Jedi were a mythical part of the setting.
  • Hera could be the Brash Pilot or Smuggler with an option taken to mix in Twilek traits. Twileks don’t get much in this system: They can use their head-tentacles to communicate with other Twileks, but other than that they’re humans with a couple boosted stats.
  • Zeb’s an interesting one: I feel like he could be the ‘Wookie First Mate’ but tweaked to be less… Wookie. Maybe Curious Explorer or some other template. He’s a ‘new’ race as far as I’m aware and fills a role as the ‘muscle.’ I’ve heard he’s based off concept art for the character that became Chewbacca.
  • Sabine feels like the Bounty Hunter, but heavily tweaked. The Template is totally based around Boba Fett (remember, these rules predate Jango and such, so Boba was still a very mysterious figure) with a backpack, some armor (OK, a vest) and the art is Fett-ish. One issue is the race listed is ‘Iotran’ but that’s minor.

In general the pilot has tons of great RPG moments: The characters all get an introduction and a chance to do Something Cool. The intro suggests a strong moral line for the series: The heroes are, well, heroes and may have real concerns like money and keeping their ship flying (shades of Firefly but less mercenary) but are generally the good guys.

As to the ‘players’ behind this group:

  • Ezra’s player seems like a younger player. They’re the most interested in looting, and probably whining that their character’s stash of helmets and stuff got left behind.
  • Kanan is played by someone who is way into the lore but also loves being the Big Damn Hero at times.
  • Hera seems like a relatively middle of the road player. She’s the one who probably remembers to bring snacks.
  • Whomever plays Zeb has mood whiplash. They built a character with a deep, engaging backstory the GM was totally excited about. However, the player just can’t keep serious, so rarely passes moments to say the Star Wars equivalent of, “Hold my Beer!” and dive into ridiculous plans.
  • Sabine’s player totally does character art for everyone. Whether they want it or not!

More to come!